Fargo man beats winter cold by building igloos – InForum

FARGO — When Dave Vacha’s neighbors first saw him hard at work outside his Osgood-area townhouse this winter, they wanted to know what he was building.

As the structures have taken shape, they are now asking, “Why? »

Vacha, 38, built two full-size igloos in her front yard at 4330 47th St. S.

He braved many hours of cold and wind to fill plastic bins with water, producing hundreds of 12-pound blocks of ice or “bricks” used for construction.

As to why he does it, Vacha said it was a childhood pastime that followed him into adulthood.

“I was fascinated by making structures out of snow and ice,” he said.
When he’s not working as a marketing manager at the Blarney Stone Pub in West Fargo, he’s usually perfecting his frozen creations.

The first Vacha igloo built this winter, started before Thanksgiving, has melted down. The second suffered the same fate, so he waited until the weather was more consistently cold before heading into those that now stand in the front yard.

Dave Vacha sits comfortably in an igloo outside his home in South Fargo. Vacha uses a sled to slip through the narrow opening of the igloo.

David Samson/The Forum

“It’s a mix of hobby and exercise…almost like meditation in a way,” he said.

His wife, Heather Vacha, 28, said it was Dave’s hobby that she did not participate in.

“If by helping you means looking out the window, that’s about the only help I’ve given. It was all his thing,” she said.

Dave Vacha starts with six-liter plastic containers that he fills with water.

He places them on shelves outside, where they freeze faster than they would on the ground.

Once the bricks are frozen and removed from the bins, Dave Vacha said the process is much like laying bricks, with snow and water used to hold them together.

012022.N.FF.IGLOOS
Dave Vacha shows the temperature inside one of the igloos he built at his South Fargo home.

David Samson/The Forum

“You lay a row, make sure it’s level, then put mortar. Then repeat and keep going up,” he said.

The only tools he uses are a small ice chisel and a three-pound sledgehammer for adjustments.

The first igloo, cylindrical with a flat roof of wooden planks and snow, is made of 374 blocks of ice weighing nearly 4,500 pounds.

For the second adjoining structure, Vacha used 180 blocks of ice weighing 2,160 pounds.

He pours about five gallons of water over the two every other night to keep the ice structures solidly frozen and solid.

To enter through the small entrance, he lies down on a plastic sled and uses his legs and feet to push himself, which he demonstrates in a video tutorial on YouTube.

The video shot with a GoPro camera will make even a slightly claustrophobic person uncomfortable for a few seconds.


Inside, Vacha has a few chairs set up under festive green LED lights hanging through the roof slats where he can sit and visit anyone who stops by.

Before the end of winter, he hopes to spend a night sleeping in the largest igloo, where the temperature is usually 15 degrees warmer than the air outside.

He tries to convince his wife to join him in this venture, but it doesn’t look promising at the moment.

“I don’t think he’ll get me out of here. It’s a little too cold for my liking,” she said.

Jennifer C. Burleigh